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10
Feb

OnePlus X review: OnePlus almost made a perfect phone


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The OnePlus X is the smallest, most affordable handset in the company’s lineup. It’s not quite as big as the OnePlus One or OnePlus 2, and its hardware isn’t competing at the absolute high-end of the market, but it stands on its own with a unique design, smaller frame, and a more affordable price tag, if that was even possible for OnePlus.

This has created a unique lineup of devices for OnePlus, and helps to round out their portfolio for someone potentially buying a smartphone. The OnePlus 2 couldn’t quite keep the extremely low price point of its predecessor, but the OnePlus X matched that price and then some. Now for anyone looking for a low-priced, premium device, the OnePlus X fills that need. For someone that wants to spend a little more to get extremely high-end hardware without compromise, they’ll have the OnePlus 2 and can still save some money compared to current flagship phones from other OEMs.

The OnePlus X clearly isn’t aimed at someone that wants the latest and greatest, but for someone that wants a phone that’s an incredible value for the money. Let’s see if OnePlus managed to do that with their compact flagship.

Design

The OnePlus X sports a smaller profile than OnePlus’s other two offerings, and a slightly different design to boot. The dimensions are only 140 x 69 x 6.9mm and the OnePlus X weighs just 138g, so it’s sufficiently compact and lightweight. The back of the phone is made of glass and its encased in metal edges, which sounds like a fantastic combination on paper. In reality, the phone doesn’t quite have that extremely high-end feel in the hand, with the back almost feeling like a more premium plastic material. It’s not anything worth complaining about, especially in the price range, and you’ll never mistake the phone for a cheap, low-end device.

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On the right side of the phone you’ll find the power button and volume buttons, which are a little too close together for comfort. I frequently hit the wrong button when trying to adjust the volume or turn the screen on or off just because of how little space is present between the two sets of buttons. Above the volume buttons rests the SIM tray, which holds either two SIM cards or a SIM card plus microSD card.

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The left side of the phone features a slider for controlling notification settings. It’s almost like a sound/vibrate toggle that has three settings: the first is the normal setting, the middle switch blocks out everything but priority notifications, and the last switch blocks all notifications. It can be a little tough to move the slider, especially with a case on, but it’s a fantastic addition to the phone.

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The bottom of the OnePlus X has a micro-USB port and dual speakers, with the headphone jack resting at the top left of the device. Pretty standard configurations there. You’ll find the camera and flash on the rear of the device, and the front-facing camera and LED notification light on the front of the phone. You’ll also see three capacitive buttons on the bottom face of the phone.

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Overall, the OnePlus X has a very solid, if unremarkable, design that’s easy on the eyes and the hands. The smaller screen helps to keep the size down, which in turn makes it very easy to use one-handed.

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Hardware

The OnePlus X features a 5-inch Full HD (1920×101080) AMOLED display, Snapdragon 801 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage paired with a microSD card slot, a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing camera, 2525 mAh non-removable battery, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth 4.0.

Bands:

4G LTE for U.S. (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8)
4G LTE for Europe (1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 38, 40)
HSDPA (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100)
GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900)

Note: OnePlus X is lacking in LTE bands, especially in the United States. AT&T uses band 17 for a ton of their LTE coverage while T-Mobile is switching over to band 12, neither of which are present in the OnePlus X.

Performance

With its Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 and 3GB of RAM to push only a Full HD (1920×1080) display, the OnePlus X performs as well as you’d expect. Switching between apps, web browsing, playing music and heavy multitasking are all a breeze for the phone, and gaming performance is right where you want it. OnePlus’s OxygenOS doesn’t layer much else on top of the software, so you’re also dealing with a near stock version of Android, which uses very few system resources.

I never experienced any performance problems or hitches with normal to heavy usage. And that included navigation, playing music, and plenty of social media and web browsing.

The display has a relatively high pixel density of 441ppi, and it offers one of the best displays on a mobile device, especially if you’re a fan of bright colors. It’s not quite Samsung-caliber, but it’s close. Watching movies and viewing pictures were incredibly enjoyable, and the colors popped more than on other similar phones like what you’d find from LG or even Apple’s iPhone.

The speakers on the phone are nothing to write home about. They’re not bad but not great. They do have a dual-speaker setup with two speakers firing downward from the bottom of the device, which offers an above average stereo sound.

Battery

Battery life on the OnePlus X is also fairly middle-of-the-road. With medium usage I managed to squeak out an entire workday on a single charge. You won’t be going multiple days with the OnePlus X, but if you’re used to charging the device at night and keep a spare charger around during the day for emergencies, you’d manage with its smaller battery.

Because of the OnePlus X design, you won’t be able to swap the battery out. No hot swapping in the middle of the day, and no replacing the battery yourself if it wears out in a couple years. Not a huge deal for most people, but worth considering for power users.

Software

The OnePlus X runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with OnePlus’s own OxygenOS. For the most part, it’s a pretty standard, stock Android experience with just a few tweaks. Most people don’t need to know how an outdated Android 5.1 runs and works, but if you need a recap, it’s fast. There’s Material Design everywhere, and OnePlus didn’t really change anything, especially in the aesthetics department.

The only change to the interface really comes from OxygenOS’ configurable dark mode, which replaces all of the white of Google’s mobile operating system with a much darker shade of a gray. You can even tweak the accent color in the interface to really find a combination you like, although that’s only available in the dark mode. I personally prefer the standard white shades that Google has implemented by default, but many people enjoy darker screens, especially on a display like this.

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Everything else is pretty standard for Android. The camera app is nearly identical to Google Camera, and the stock apps are all Google’s offerings: Messenger, Photos, Chrome, and so on. One of the only OnePlus apps pre-installed is the Files app, which actually really well and even hooks into your Google Drive account.

OnePlus includes a few tweaks to help you customize the phone, including custom navigation keys. You can switch back and forth between hardware and software keys, so if you like having the navbar at the bottom of your screen, you can use that and it will completely disable the capacitive buttons on the device. However, those capacitive buttons are much more customizable, and you’re able to swap the Back and Recents, plus assign actions for long-pressing or double-tapping any of the three buttons. Double-tap the home button for camera, anyone?

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The only issue with the capacitive keys isn’t really a software problem, but they’re extremely hard to see on the Onyx model of the device. They aren’t backlit, causing them to blend in with the phone if you aren’t looking for them. On the flip side of that, if you’re using software keys, you’ll be grateful that the capacitive keys are mostly hidden away.

On the launcher app, OnePlus offers what its calling a Shelf for your frequently used apps and contacts. Swiping all the way left takes you to a separate page, which is the Shelf, that you can set up with widgets and wallpapers. It shows your frequently used apps as well as frequent contacts, and you can set up any widget you’d like in a vertical scrolling page. It’s a much more customizable take on the extra home screen as opposed to Google’s mandated Google Now page and Samsung’s flaky Flipboard offering, and makes a pretty compelling shortcut page if you’re willing to spend the time in setting it all up.

The last useful addition that OnePlus baked in includes gestures. If you’ve used an LG or HTC phone recently, you’re probably familiar with these. While the screen is locked, you can double tap to wake the phone up, for example, or draw a circle to open the camera app. There’s a ‘v’ gesture for the flashlight, and a few gestures for media controls. The OnePlus X isn’t difficult to maneuver with its 5-inch screen, so the gestures aren’t necessary like they are on some bigger phones, but they’re very nice to have included at the system level.

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Camera

Camera performance on the OnePlus X is average. Outdoor shots all turn out fine, and the phone snaps photos pretty quickly as long as you’ve got a decent light source nearby. Colors are vivid, although things can seem a little washed out at times. Shutter speeds are quick, and for your everyday usage, most people won’t be disappointed with the image quality here.

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Things really start to struggle when the lighting isn’t perfect, however. Without decent lighting, pictures are extremely grainy past the point where they’ll be repaired with photo editing.

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Low light shots rarely come out well, unless you use the built-in HDR mode in OnePlus’s camera app. That has the drawback of drastically increasing the amount of time it takes to snap a photo, and even then the images don’t really compete with heavy hitters from Samsung or LG. Fortunately, the flash on the phone works well most of the time. I’ve used some phones where turning the flash on completely washed out your photo where it wasn’t ever worth turning on. That’s not the case with the OnePlus X.

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There’s a manual mode in the camera app that will let you adjust things like ISO settings to try and force some better pictures, if you know what you’re doing. Tinkering with things produced better results than the auto modes did, but most people aren’t going to want to open up that section of the camera and play with things before taking a picture.

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Shooting video worked fairly well, although the app doesn’t offer many options to customize your recording. You can pick either 1080p or 720p, and… that’s it. No adjustments on frame rate or anything, just regular HD or Full HD. Fortunately, videos do turn out pretty clear.

Closing

OnePlus came extremely close to creating the perfect phone with the OnePlus X, especially considering its exceptionally low price point of $249. That gets you solid performance with solid battery life, a fantastic screen, and a clean Android experience.  The camera is good enough for most people, and the design is premium enough that you won’t complain that it feels too much like a cheap prepaid phone.

In its price range, the OnePlus X holds it own and sometimes outperforms almost all of the competition. The 16GB Nexus 5X typically starts at $349, which is a full $100 more for only a handful of extra features. Granted, those features include things like a fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C port, and updates directly from Google, but for many users that’s probably not worth the extra hundred bucks. Even higher sits the Moto X Pure Edition, which costs $399 for extremely similar hardware to the Nexus 5X but also lacks the fingerprint scanner and USB Type-C port. Against the $249 OnePlus X, it can be tough to justify spending a couple extra hundred on those few features.

On the lower end, it’s exceptionally difficult to find anything comparable to a flagship Snapdragon 800 series processor for less than $200, and that doesn’t even touch the Full HD screen and 3GB of RAM. Alcatel OneTouch and BLU have some phones that get close but don’t quite cut it, and they aren’t significantly cheaper, either.

But because of its lower price tag, OnePlus clearly had to make some concessions on the phone. There’s no fingerprint scanner here, we’re missing a few LTE bands, and there’s only 16GB of internal storage with no way to opt for a higher storage capacity directly from OnePlus. If you can live with those things in 2016, you won’t find a better bang for your buck than the OnePlus X.

Come comment on this article: OnePlus X review: OnePlus almost made a perfect phone

10
Feb

New render shows off the curves of the Galaxy S7 Edge


Samsung Galaxy S7 edge render

Another day, another leak for the Samsung Galaxy S7. This time around it is a new picture of the upcoming Galaxy S7 Edge.

Just earlier today we showed you what looks to be leaked images of a real S7, and now a press image leaks of the S7 Edge. There have been so many leaked images of the S7 I am starting to think they might not all be “accidentally” leaked.

Nothing really different in terms of design from what we have seen from the other S7 Edge leaks. Overall, the phone is actually quite similar to the current S6 Edge as well. However, last years S6 Edge looked gorgeous and it looks like the S7 Edge won’t change that.

Source: Evan Blass (Twitter)

Come comment on this article: New render shows off the curves of the Galaxy S7 Edge

10
Feb

UE ROLL is an great speaker with an excellent companion app


Most of us love music (if you don’t, I’m very sorry for you). Tastes may vary, but we all like a good tune every now and then. When we want to listen to music at home or on the go, it’s important to be able to do it on a good speaker and unless you’re rocking an HTC One M series phone, Moto X, or Nexus 6P, you’re probably looking for something better than the speakers on your phone.

Ultimate Ears has an offering that’s really hard to pass up when it comes to pure speaker quality and loudness; they call it the UE ROLL

Design

2015-11-08 16.56.23Upon removal from the packaging (Rolled cardboard packaging), my first impression is that this is a very attractive and modern-looking speaker. The colors are very appealing and you quickly realize that even though it doesn’t look like a boulder with an otterbox on it, it’s actually a very rugged device. I don’t recommend running it over with your monster truck, but it feels like it might actually survive.

 

As is noted in the specsheet, below, it’s IPX7 rated, which means it can be completely immersed in water up to one meter deep for up to 30 minutes. Again, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying to drown it, but you can certainly take it with you to the shower or the beach without having to worry.

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When I started playing music, I notice how clear and beautiful the sound is and it doesn’t distort when you turn it up to full volume. The loudness is also very impressive for what it is. I found that keeping it at full volume for too long was going to probably upset someone around me, which for something its size is pretty amazing.

As far as the tuning is concerned, I’d definitely say it sounds better in the mids-highs. They advertise it as being a pro with the lows and it even has a “bass jump” mode in the built-in eq, but it didn’t really impress me much in that department.

Control

The front of the UE Roll is very stylish, I mentioned that before. It didn’t actually occur to me at first, though, that the stylish design is actually very functional. The front of the speaker has giant +/- buttons on it to control the volume and I was very pleased by that. After that, though, the fun ends. The buttons can’t be long-pressed to get any additional functionality (such as skipping or repeating a song) and there’s no way to pause/play the music without your phone in your hand.

However, if you have your phone in your hand, there are a bunch of other things you can do to control the speaker with its companion app!


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Overall, the companion app is rather scant, but what do you really expect from a companion app to a bluetooth speaker? In addition to giving you information about the battery life of the speaker and allowing you to control the equalizer, it has an alarm feature and gives you the ability to pair a second UE ROLL to make a stereo performance out of your music collection. You can also update the firmware on the speaker via the app, which adds new features including new equalizer presets and “Block Party” mode, which allows multiple people to connect to a single UE Roll and create a queue together, a really cool feature in its own right (the owner still holds the power of veto, as it should be, though).

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What I found to be most impressive about the app was actually one of the simpler features, though. The ability to power on and off the speaker from the app is really cool. What that also means, though, is that the speaker can be powered off when you have the alarm set and it will power itself on and start playing music when your alarm goes off. My only problem with this feature was that the phone doesn’t disconnect from (and power off) the ROLL after you dismiss the alarm – that would be a good future software update (wink wink).

Specs

Dimensions: Diameter: 135mm, Height: 40mm, Weight: 330g

Waterproof: IPX7 rated: UE ROLL can be immersed in liquid up to 1m for up to 30 minutes.

Audio:

  • Maximum Sound Level: 85dBA
  • Frequency Range: 108Hz – 20kHz
  • Drivers: One 2” driver and Two ¾” tweeters

Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery

Wireless/Audio Compatibility: For Audio Playback – Smartphones, tablets and other devices that support Bluetooth® wireless audio profile [Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)] or 3.5 mm audio output.

Overall

I found the UE Roll to have exceptional sound, especially for the size that it is. It’s definitely a little pricey, but I’ve never seen anything like this before: something with such bold sound, that’s so portable, has great battery life, and you can take it to the beach because it’s okay if it gets wet.

More of the value of this speaker comes from the companion app and its ability to make a simple bluetooth speaker into the life of the party. Pick one up today at Verizon and save 20% off of full price!

Purchase: Verizon Wireless

The post UE ROLL is an great speaker with an excellent companion app appeared first on AndroidGuys.

10
Feb

Facer turns freemium, showcases exclusive watch face designs


Facer has long-been the first app many smartwatch owners think of when they consider watch face design and customization. It was one of the first of its kind, offering stylish options for the Android user on the go. Now, however, competition in the market has become more fierce. To stay abreast of its rivals, Facer has deducted $.99 from it’s original $.99 price tag and opened up a store of in-app purchases.

Since Facer is now free, they’ve got to monetize it somehow. Instead of having you pay upfront for the full service, the devs are making most of the app’s functionality available for free and then charging for exclusive, premium watch faces. This line of deluxe watch faces will include branding from the likes of Ghostbusters, American Dad, Garfield, and Sugapop. Word on the street is that Star Trek is next in line to receive a custom smartwatch face, and there can be little doubt that new fun faces are coming down the pipe as well.


moto 360 2nd gen review aa (4 of 27)See also: Best Android Wear watches (February 2016)60

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In addition to sporting your favorite franchise, you’ll also be able to choose from a curated storehouse of upscale themes that are sorted by categories. Search or browse to find the smartwatch face that’s perfect for your attitude. You can even create a catalogue of your own masterpieces via the My Designs section. Check out the Facer Creator to get started on your own watch faces right away.

Are you a Facer user? If not, what is your go-to smartwatch face app? Give the all new freemium version of this app a spin by clicking the button below, and don’t forget to tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Get it in the Play Store

wearealNext: Get realistic Android Wear watch faces with Weareal5

10
Feb

LG K7 goes up for sale at T-Mobile


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It was less than a week ago when LG announced its new low-end LG K7 model. Today, the device has officially gone up for sale at T-Mobile.

The LG K7 features low-end specifications, but comes in at a price tag of only $139 off contract. Just as a recap, it features a 5-inch display with 480 x 854 pixels. Powering the device is a Snapdragon 210 SoC clocked at 1.1 GHz with 1GB of RAM. Both the front side and rear side feature the same 5MP camera for taking photos and shooting low-res video.

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The K7 has 8GB of internal storage and can be expanded up to 32GB with the addition of a mircoSD card. The device measures 5.65 x 2.85 x 0.35 inches and weighs in at only 4.9 ounces. Android 5.1 runs the house. Other sensors include 4G LTE connectivity, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC for wireless payments, Wi-Fi, and GPS. A 2125 mAh battery will try to survive its owner’s full day.

The LG K7 isn’t the greatest out there, but if you’re looking to get something that doesn’t break the bank, it sure is worth considering. For more details, click the source link to go to T-Mobile’s website.

Source: T-Mobile

Come comment on this article: LG K7 goes up for sale at T-Mobile

10
Feb

WhatsApp updated with new emojis


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We’ve known for a while now that WhatsApp’s been testing the new emoji that were introduced as part of Unicode 9.0 in December, and today the instant messaging giant has started rolling out the much-anticipated update for its Android client via the Play Store.

This upgrade carries the same emoji included in Android 6.0.1, but only a handful of devices have been lucky enough to be graced with the new firmware — so, consequently, many WhatsApp users will be welcoming this upgrade with open arms.

Unfortunately, WhatsApp hasn’t updated the changelog on the Play Store, which means that there could be some hidden gems integrated into the update that we haven’t found out about yet.

To install the update, simply open up the Play Store on your device, toggle the hamburger menu by swiping in from the left-hand side of the screen, select ‘My Apps’ and click on ‘WhatsApp’. Next, hit the update button, and the upgrade will instantly start to download and install.

Play Store Download Link

Come comment on this article: WhatsApp updated with new emojis

10
Feb

[TA Deals] This Getflix Lifetime Subscription will let you watch Netflix anywhere (91% off)


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Watching video streaming outside of the US whilst traveling can be a huge problem because of geographic restrictions. If you’re on vacation in say, Germany, and want to catch up on a couple of movies or TV series you’ve heard good things about, chances are, you won’t be able to since you’re connecting to Netflix from Germany. That’s where Getflix over on Talk Android Deals comes in, letting you access geo-restricted content anywhere in the world!

  • Access popular global streaming services from anywhere around the world
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  • Please note: Getflix doesn’t replace the need for a subscription streaming service

Getflix’s suggested pricing sits at $855, but it’s been discounted to just $69 (91% off) for our readers over on Talk Android Deals. Getflix is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that promises top Internet speeds. Many VPNs tank your Internet speed, but Getflix promises to only offer the best so that you can truly enjoy all of your favorite Netflix content abroad.

But, you’ll need to act fast! This 91% discount is only going on for another two days. Anyone plan on buying?

[Talk Android Deals]

Come comment on this article: [TA Deals] This Getflix Lifetime Subscription will let you watch Netflix anywhere (91% off)

10
Feb

The incredibly sad world of niche dating apps


When I exited the market in 2006, online dating was akin to wearing sweatpants in the club. It was a sign that you’d given up on the “real” world; a symbol of existential surrender.

Nearly 10 years later, both sweatpants and online dating are experiencing a renaissance. As the recent IPO for Tinder parent Match Group shows, digital matchmaking is big business, but for every Tinder, Grindr or Match.com, there are hundreds if not thousands of niche dating sites catering to the most specific and peculiar areas of interest.

There are services for salad lovers and bacon lovers, for admirers of sea captains and farmers, for pot smokers and sober sweethearts, for Filippina Christians, Ayn Rand enthusiasts and people who have the hots for hot sauce. If you can find a way to categorize a future mate based on a mutual love of something — anything — there’s an app for that. But can you actually find love when you’ve narrowed your options in the name of, say, a common love of Ursula the Sea Witch?

Since mid-December, I’ve been lurking in the background of two different incredibly niche online dating services in an attempt to find out. It was far sadder than I anticipated.

My initial reaction to news of Mouse Mingle betrayed my distaste for both adult cartoon fans and what I see as one of the worst parts of online dating today: excessive specificity.

“Like, I get wanting to connect with like-minded people, but if you’re basing an adult relationship on your mutual love of ‘The Little Mermaid,’ I can’t imagine things are going to work out for you,” I quipped in Slack.

But as the old bedroom adage goes: Don’t knock it ’til you try it. So I did.

Let’s get one thing out of the way up front: This is not the Magic Kingdom of dating apps, but it is, in fact, a real mickey mouse operation. The site (a temporary white-label app is also available) is devoid of Disney branding and claims no connection to the charming rodent and his empire. In place of all your favorite cartoon friends are a series of generic web forms and web 1.0 graphics. The only real visual cues that you’re on a site for Disney fans are a poorly lit snapshot from Disneyland and a white-gloved cursor.

With each box ticked I could see my Olympic-sized dating pool turning into a romance Lazy River, where I’d be lucky to see a fresh turd float by.

I didn’t let that deter me. I picked a screen name (Mickey Trout), uploaded a photoshopped image of myself wearing mouse ears and filled out a list of criteria (body type, ethnicity, etc.) before answering a list of granular but truly important questions. I’m a total Pluto person with a “Star Wars Nerd Level” of “Meh,” if you must know.

With each box ticked I could see my Olympic-sized dating pool turning into a romance Lazy River, where I’d be lucky to see a fresh turd float by. That’s not to say that Mouse Mingle is devoid of perfectly datable people, but the chances they live nearby and meet all of your other, albeit less crucial, non-cartoon criteria, are really quite small.

The one-man show behind Mouse Mingle, Dave Tavres, told me that he knew of two couples who had actually met in person. TWO. MET. IN PERSON. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but not particularly surprising, either.

In nearly two months, I got all of two “Winks,” Mouse Mingle’s cutesy version of a right swipe. I’d matched with nearly 10 times as many men in two days on Tinder. The first winker was a middle-aged school-bus driver and self-published gay erotic novelist from Washington. The other was a California state employee with a love for theater who admitted to “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

Had I been able to message him without handing over my credit card number, I would have told him he’d yet to break that cycle. Unfortunately, Mouse Mingle requires a subscription of $12.55 a month to move beyond a Wink. Maybe it’s the bargain-basement web design, but something about the site doesn’t quite inspire the level of trust I require to part with my banking details.

Besides, of all the men that the app suggested as perfect matches, only one was less than an hour away. I can think of about a million other ways to spend my money that have nothing to do with driving cross-country for a man who named his cat after a cartoon puppet who dreamed of being a real boy.

What it lacks in actual users, Mouse Mingle makes up for in sincerity. The same can not be said for Sizzl, Oscar Mayer’s bacon-based marketing-stunt-cum-hookup-app. Sizzl operates in much the same way as Tinder, allowing you to connect with other swine enthusiasts only after you’ve both shown interest. As opposed to a simple swipe, Sizzl uses a hard press to show your interest. Once you’ve mutually sizzl’d, the app alerts you that you are “bacon lovers.”

Profiles, are, unsurprisingly, bacon-centric. In addition to your age, location and photo, the app displays three bacon-based traits. As it turns out, I’m a “pork bacon lover” who “loves it crispy.” I am also a “bacon giver,” not a “bacon taker,” both of which sound incredibly messy and uncomfortable.

I got a little more action on Sizzl than Mouse Mingle — I’ve had four total matches since Dec. 16 — but that was due in part to some overzealous hard-pressing. I was determined to find out who would, in their right mind, download and engage with a thinly veiled Oscar Meyer ad. Luckily, I connected with a 21-year-old local crispy bacon giver, who said he downloaded the app “Bc it looked cool on tv.”

In the weeks that followed, he would message me multiple times, on one occasion inquiring about my taste in men, not bacon. It hadn’t occurred to me that there were people out there who so identified with a particular pork product that they would genuinely seek out a significant other based on their mutual love of that meat. I had known the pangs of emptiness brought on by hookup apps like Tinder and Grindr, but this was just depressing.

Oscar Meyer isn’t alone in capitalizing on our desire to make a genuine connection in what can seem like a soulless meat market. Salad Match, for example, is an app produced by a salad restaurant aimed at transforming salad lovers into actual lovers. In fact, nearly all of the niche dating sites I’ve come across — save for maybe ChristianFilipina.com — are based on a mutual desire to consume something. Whether it’s bacon or Disney cartoons or even hot sauce, the underlying message is “you are what you eat.”

I like to think of myself as more than a crispy bacon giver or a “Pluto person,” and I’d hope that the man of my dreams would be able to look past the chalupa and love me for the things that truly define me, not my taste in hot sauce. Apps like these reduce us to how we spend our money and, as a result, disregard the nuances of attraction and the benefit of an outside perspective.

When you go deep, like Mouse Mingle deep, you not only reduce yourself to a line item on your bank statement, you also alienate a huge part of the eligible population. In the words of the Little Mermaid, I wanna be where the people are. They are not on Mouse Mingle.

10
Feb

HBO Now tallies 800,000 subscribers in 10 months since launch


A standalone HBO streaming service was supposedly what the masses were clamoring for. Well, it turns out “about 800,000” people were really interested. HBO CEO Richard Plepler revealed the figure during an earnings call for the network’s parent company Time Warner earlier today. He went on to say that the figure isn’t as bad as it sounds for the $15 a month service that debuted on Apple devices in April. Of course, HBO Now was exclusive to Cupertino’s gadgets for 90 days, which likely didn’t help keep the interest of viewers who had to wait until later in the summer to sign up. However, it’s not too much of a reach to expect the first numbers the company revealed to be at least a million subscriptions.

“I wouldn’t say only 800,000 subs,” Plepler explained. “We’re just getting started.”

He may be right. As Plepler noted today, HBO has original series from both Jon Stewart and Bill Simmons on tap for this year. What’s more, the return of Game of Thrones this spring is sure to help the subscriptions numbers a bit, especially for folks who don’t have cable or aren’t sharing a log-in. And there’s the fact that HBO Now still isn’t on Xbox or PlayStation, and both consoles are popular streaming devices for HBO Go. The network could also look to lure customers with exclusive content, which may include stuff from the likes of Stewart and Simmons.

Via: The Verge

Source: Recode

10
Feb

Shooter classic ‘Descent’ gets a second crowdfunded revival


Apparently, there are a lot of gamers (and game developers) who are still fond of Descent‘s mind-breaking, 6-degrees-of-freedom shooting action. Just months after the success of Descent: Underground, the aptly-named Revival Productions is crowdfunding its own take on the formula, Overload. It doesn’t have the same name as the zero-G combat classic, but there’s arguably a stronger pedigree — co-founders Mike Kulas and Matt Toschlog were instrumental to making the earliest Descent games, and other higher-ups built Descent 3. They remember the mechanics and level design that made the original a cult hit, and they’re hoping to preserve that vibe while introducing modern technology.

It won’t take much to get involved. Revival is promising a digital copy of the game for PC, PS4 or Xbox One if you make a $25 pledge; paying more gets you art, strategy guides, in-game credits and hard copies. There are plans for Mac and Linux versions if the team meets stretch goals, too. You won’t get to play until March 2017 if Overload reaches its target, and it’s not clear if that will happen. How many gamers need to relive their glory days twice? If you missed out on Underground or want to reward some game industry pioneers, though, you now have your chance.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2010925172/overload-the-ultimate-six-degree-of-freedom-shoote/widget/video.html

Source: Kickstarter

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